After the Pleistocene

A memory of my ramble
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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society


 “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society”
I’m going to talk about a movie. The title is “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society”, a very long title.
Now, do you know about the island named “Guernsey” in English Channel? It is very close to France (about 20km) and far from Britain (120km), but it’s a Britain’s territory since 11th century (The Norman Conquest). But British Army gave up the defense of that island as soon as German invaded France on World War .
Two years flew past since the war ended, English writer Juliet got a letter from a man living in Guernsey. This dairy farmer, Dawsey, asked to find out Charles Lamb’s book and explained the unique book club. Juliet was very interested in that letter and wanted to see the members of “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society”.
Juliet got engaged to a rich American publisher Mark just before her trip to Guernsey. She was confused at the fact the society members kept secret about the society and the founder Elizabeth. We can imagine a secret tragedy in this island under martial law by German.
 Elizabeth had a baby between a young German doctor and now her three-year-old girl is raised by Dawsey and the members. They say Elizabeth was caught by German Army during the war and she is missing now in the continent. Elizabeth was always strict to others and Germans even during the occupation. They say she was arrested and sent to the concentration camp because she condemned German troop’s conducts. Juliet wanted to write about this book club but the members rejected it. Soon it turned out that Elizabeth was killed by German in the camp.
At any rate Juliet broke up to Mark. Dawsey asked to marry her. She also loved him and accepted it. They will raise Kid, a little girl, together. We are happy to celebrate the arrival of a new romance.
| English | 10:21 | comments(0) | trackbacks(0) | ↑PAGE TOP
A speech in the year-end party
 Thank you for giving me a chance to deliver an opening speech in English. It was a pity I couldn't make it in English instead of Japanese two years ago. I'm glad to keep up learning with my cheerful friends since then.
It is great fun learning English in Waseda, especially in this class. I feel a sense of belonging here. Everybody in this class is eager to learn English from our teacher, Madame T. We enjoy speaking and listening in English, a little hard to understand, though.
One day I had a School Day at my granddaughter's elementary school. She is a lively girl of the third grade. We parents and grandparents were happy to look at kids playing and learning in the ground and classroom.There was a harmonious relationship among kids and teachers. I feel the same atomosphere here in this class. It is a great environment. I hope this English class will last forever.
Thank you everybody.
| English | 22:32 | comments(0) | trackbacks(0) | ↑PAGE TOP
 Usually I spend the most time with my wife. But she is still working, so I can spend time for myself freely. She wants to continue with her work until 75. Whoa!
I love playing with my granddaughter in the weekend. She entered the elementary school this spring. She loves drawing a picture. My study became her museum in the recent years. A lot of her paintings are hung on the surrounding walls. She wants to be a fashion designer in the future. I always enjoy her company.
 I think housewives also should have a regular job. Not only helping household, but it makes them feel independent. Of course men should see together how to raise children by every conceivable means, like taking a childcare leave.
 Honestly, I don’t have the qualification to pick up this topic. I seldom took care of my family until I quit my job. As a businessman I always put business the first priority. I considered as a matter of fact that my wife should raise our children and juggle household expenses to make ends meet. It must be a wrong decision.
After our children entered the elementary school, my wife found a job as a clerk. Since then she’s been working comfortably without severe illness. Yes, staying healthy is one of the best way for a happy marriage.

| English | 10:21 | comments(0) | trackbacks(0) | ↑PAGE TOP
Last month our new semester started in Sophia Community College at Yotsuya. I met several good old friends again and a lot of new students. This new class is mainly made up with a group discussion by three or four students. We change partners several times during the lesson. We talk many topics enthusiastically without regard to English grammar. The first topic was "Self-introduction." "Why do you want to learn English ?"

Let's me introduce myself. My name is Robert Addfield. I'd say my grandfather was a rich farmer rather than a poor peasant in Ibaraki Prefecture. His wife, my grandmother, was an only woman in the village who had the franchise as a woman. But my father was the fourth son among seven children. So he had to work in Tokyo since he was 16 years old.
He became a watch engineer and got married to a vivid girl living in the next village. She was the youngest child among nine siblings. I was born in 19🌸🌸 just before the World War .
Horrible air raid by American Air Force happened in March 10th 1945. About a million citizens lost their houses and more than 100,000 people were killed in the old part of Tokyo. My father's factory burnt down. Fortunately we escaped from this disaster and went back to the father’s home in Ibaraki. We came back to Tokyo a few years later because the world calmed down.
After I graduated college in 1964, I started my career as an office worker here at Yotsuya in Tokyo. In those days trams ran in front of this college. I used to go to Ginza by this tram. You could see a beautiful scene of the Imperial Palace from the tram window. I can't get enough of it.
I love travelling here and there. When I was young, I used to climb mountains. Since 1990's my wife and I enjoyed traveling abroad. We took a car journey by a rent-a- car in Germany and England. I can't imagine how we managed to travel with my poor English.
So I made up my mind to brush up on my English conversation. A slight dementia isn't going to defeat me.

| English | 10:07 | comments(0) | trackbacks(0) | ↑PAGE TOP
My pet hate
「ま、私がスターバックスに入ったとしますね。」と、若いイギリス人の英語教師ダンが話し始めた。「店内を見回して空いた席がある。コーヒーカップを受け取ってそこに行くと、いつの間にか誰かが先にものを置いて座席を確保している。これ、my pet hateね。」人によってはどうでも良いことかもしれないけど、自分にとってはとてもムカっとくることと理解した。私もそんな経験が度々ある。「コンチクショウ!」と思ってスゴスゴあたりをもう一度見渡す。(こんな時、店員が「こちら、空いてます。」と言ってくれたら、とてもうれしいね。)
 私のmy pet hateは、スーパーの有料買い物袋だ。わずか3円か5円ではないか、というなかれ。レジに並んだとき、ボヤっとしていて「袋はどうしますか?」と聞かれると、正直カッとなるときもある。2千円も買ったのだからたまには「おまけします」、と言ってくれてもいいではないか。無人のレジで「袋ください!」なんて大声で叫ぶのもまた気恥ずかしい。でも買い物袋を家から下げてゆくのは、今までの習慣になかったものだ。

| English | 23:11 | comments(0) | trackbacks(0) | ↑PAGE TOP
My New Year's Resolution
Last week I took an English class in Sophia University for the first time this year. Our teacher usually teaches us English conversation through BBC news. But he suggested that we were going to discuss over our New Year’s resolutions in groups of four or five students. He said. “Let’s be open and honest with each other.”
But honestly, I don’t like this free discussion. Even in Japanese, I feel difficult to talk about my opinion. Our teacher tries the debates over our daily life sometimes. For instance, how do you react if China would invade Senkaku Islands?
Anyway I told them about my New Year’s resolution. Since the end of 2012 I’ve suffered from backache. I’d like to recover from this heavy ache as soon as possible. Then I have a plan to take a TOEIC test. My ridiculous goal is to get a grade of 800.
The most important resolution I have in my mind is to travel around Eastern Europe. Vienna,Prague and Budapest. But regrettably I can't visit these cities by car because of my backache.

| English | 21:42 | comments(0) | trackbacks(0) | ↑PAGE TOP
My old stomping grounds, Yotsuya
Yotsuya is my old stomping grounds. After the graduation from colledge, I started working here at Yotsuya. Back then you could see a tram running through the street over there. I used to take this tram to go to Ginza sometimes. The green bank of the Palace beyond the moat gave me natural splendid views every season. I remember the quiet campus of Sofia University where a few priests and sisters were walking around.
This year I changed my English class from Waseda to Sofia University at Yotsuya because I was a little tired of Waseda Open College. A lot of acquaintances had already left there by reason of thier age. Dr.Falconery and several close friends passed away.
Now in my class we are learning English by using DVD produced by BBC. I can finally understand a news report at normal speed after I listen to this video again and again. So I always feel frustrated in class. I got to asking an extra question to our teacher who is a young smart Englishman. But he has always answered any illogical question pretty kindly. Thanks a lot, Mr.Daniel Brooks.
| English | 00:07 | comments(0) | trackbacks(0) | ↑PAGE TOP
"Then and Now" by Somerset Maugham
 He(Niccolo Machiavelli) then presented his letter of audience. The Duke gave it a glance and handed it to the secretary. Ceasar Borgia was a man of striking beauty, of more than common height, with broad shoulders, a powerful chest and slim waist. He was dressed in black, which emphasized his vivid colouring, and besides a ring on the index finger of his right hand his only ornament was the collar of St. Michael, the order which King Louis had conferred upon him.
 His hair, of a rich auburn and carefully dressed, was worn long and reached his shoulders; he had a moustache and a short beard trimmed to a point. His nose was straight and delicate and his eyes, under well-marked brows, were fine and bold; his well-shaped mouth was sensual; his skin clean and glowing. His gait was stately, yet graceful, and in his bearing was something of majesty. Machiavelli asked himself how it came about that this young man, the offspring of a Roman woman of the people and a fat, hook-nosed Spanish priest who had bought the papacy by shameless simony, had acquired the demeanour of a great prince.

| English | 22:40 | comments(0) | trackbacks(0) | ↑PAGE TOP
The General Election in 2012
As you know, the Liberal Democratic Party(LDP) won a landslide victory in the 46th general election in Japan on Sunday. Mr. Abe, the leader of LDP insisted that he and his party got a brilliant result and could stop the administration of the Democratic Party(DP) from ruining Japan.
But I think LDP had simply ridden a wave of public disgust in the failure of his opponents. People in Japan didn't perfectly accept LDP's policy. Voters couldn't look for the best political party after DP was split into two or three parties.
For three years and three months DP has kept straying, even though they had a majority in seats. They realized that Japan is more difficult on the financial condition unless we might raise consumption tax. But they hadn't showed us this resolution before on their “Manifest". That's the biggest problem. But you know, LDP had already approved consumption tax earlier. Now, after this election, we realized that consumption tax didn't affect the current of public opinion. In the House of Representatives, the Liberal Democratic Party held a commanding lead with 294 of the 480 seats. Isn't it almost a mirror image of the election result in 2009, when the Democrats won 308 seats? And the election result in 2009 was a mirror image of the former election in 2005.
Most of young voters start thinking that the politics in Japan would never change even though the political party in office took dramatically turn administering our country. I guess that's why we had a very light poll this time.

| English | 22:28 | comments(0) | trackbacks(0) | ↑PAGE TOP
The sudden death of Mr.Kanzaburo
I was very surprised with the news about Mr.Kanzaburo last week. One of the leading Kabuki actors died on December 5th in Tokyo for the cause of respiratory failure.(呼吸器疾患) He had been treated for esophageal cancer.(食道がん) Nakamura Kanzaburo XVIII was 57 years old, but I'd say he died early, because he couldn't show us his more mature performance with age.
He played Kabuki in NewYork in 2004 and 2007. According to the New York Times, Mr.Kanzaburo insisted that his effort to broaden Kabuki’s appeal took the theater back to its rough-and-tumble roots in the 17th century. He was a bold but sensible actor, that’s why a great number of Kabuki fans cannot help loving his play and character. We expected Mr.Kanzaburo would act on the new stage of Kabuki-za theater next spring. We all miss him.

| English | 09:38 | comments(0) | trackbacks(0) | ↑PAGE TOP